Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality

Handling Hyperactivity

Understanding This Behaviour

Hyperactive dogs often exhibit behaviours such as jumping up, being unable to focus, snapping at faces, excessive whining and vocalization, an inability to learn well, and many other symptoms.

This behaviour is normally attention seeking, but can also be misdirected play- or prey-drive. Pent-up energy can also contribute to this. In addition, hyperactivity is something that people often reward inadvertently.

Treating This Behaviour

Again, this is a problem with the dog being in an excitable state and not being in a learning state. This issue underpins a lot of problems and requires careful application of training principles and techniques. For example, to bring their arousal level down into a learning state we use a combination of clicker training, time outs, and appropriate application of social rewards. Regular exercise is an important prevention approach, as well as the trainer being in a calm, non-reactive state and ignoring inappropriate responses and rewarding appropriate responses.

This is difficult to treat but is treatable. Affecting a long-term change takes at least three weeks in the animal behaviour clinic as a resident.

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